McMaster spotlights key SCPC reforms in State of State Address

McMaster spotlights key SCPC reforms in State of State Address

On Wednesday, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster delivered his 2024 State of the State Address, outlining his priorities for the next year and beyond. We are pleased to share that he expressed support for a number of reforms backed by SCPC, which you can learn more about in our 2024 Legislative Roadmap.  

Below are a few standout examples. 

State of State highlights

On tax relief, McMaster said:

“If future revenues allow, I ask the General Assembly to speed up the income tax cut schedule, and let taxpayers keep even more of their own money.”

In our 2025 SC Sustainable Budget, we explain how South Carolina can immediately reduce its top income tax rate to 6% using less than half of next fiscal year’s anticipated surplus.  

SCPC was a primary supporter behind the 2022 state personal income tax cut, which slashed the top rate from 7% to 6.5% and consolidated the lower tax bracket. It also planned additional yearly 0.1% cuts until the top rate reaches 6%. We have since advocated for accelerating this process and delivering quicker and more meaningful tax relief.  

Speaking on liability reform, he continued:

“… our rules on joint and several liability have introduced an element of uncertainty into our business arena and uncertainty is the enemy of sound business. We must find a common-sense formula which will provide accountability and just compensation without damaging our economy.” 

Last year, SCPC explained in a detailed report how South Carolina businesses and citizens can be forced to pay entire legal verdicts, even if they are only partially at fault for an incident. It called for urgent reform and offered several bills that would provide a fairer, more balanced system.  

McMaster also touted a new judicial transparency policy, which came weeks after The Nerve – our award-winning news site – published stories (here and here) exposing issues in our magistrate court system.  

“I have instituted a new procedure requiring magisterial candidates to complete more detailed applications and to waive confidentiality protections for – and to authorize the release of records related to – any attorney or judicial disciplinary proceedings.” 

He also affirmed the need for broader judicial reforms, which have long been championed by SCPC.  

“To properly provide for a separate and independent Judiciary, the currently unrepresented Executive Branch should play a role in selecting judicial candidates before the General Assembly exercises its constitutional authority to elect judges.”   

We agree. In addition to creating a more balanced selection process with executive input, our seven judicial recommendations explain how to increase transparency as candidates are being screened. Such steps are crucial for repairing public trust in our courts. 

The full text of the governor's address can be viewed here